The Biden administration has awarded the Vera Institute of Justice, a New York-based nonprofit, with Health and Human Services (HHS)-backed contracts worth hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to help illegal immigrants avoid deportation.
This move has raised questions about oversight structures to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, is probing the contracts, citing the institute’s history of not complying with legal and regulatory requirements regarding the expenditure of government funds.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Grassley raised concerns about the contracts, and he referred to a Department of Justice inspector general report that found that Vera did not comply with previous “essential award conditions”.
He urged the need for transparency in how Vera and its subcontractors are using taxpayer funds and what HHS has done to employ robust oversight procedures and policies to ensure Vera is in full compliance with all applicable legal, regulatory, and contractual requirements.
The Vera Institute of Justice, together with the Acacia Center for Justice, has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-backed government contracts since President Biden took office.
According to records reviewed by Fox News Digital, most of the money is going towards efforts to keep illegal immigrants in the United States.
Vera has collected around $350 million from government contracts for immigration services in the past two years, while the Acacia Center for Justice has pocketed tens of millions of dollars in recent federal contracts. This has led to concerns, particularly regarding the escalating border crisis.
The contracts have been awarded amid increasing illegal immigration at the US-Mexico border. The HHS-funded contract awarded to Vera Institute of Justice, which is worth $171 million, aims to help unaccompanied minors avoid deportation.
The contract has since paid out around $180 million with supplemental agreements as of December, and it will be extended until March. It can hit as high as $983 million if renewed until March 2027, and it will be the most significant federal contract the group has received for immigration-related services.
The Acacia Center for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that was started from a partnership between Vera and Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights, has also received several “legal services” contracts from the Department of Justice.
These contracts are worth around $41 million in payments, records show. The Acacia Center appears to have launched to expand Vera’s work with illegal immigrants detained at the border.
The Biden administration’s awarding of the contracts to Vera Institute of Justice has raised concerns about transparency and oversight structures to prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. This move comes amid an escalating border crisis, which has led to concerns about the administration’s handling of illegal immigration.